President Donald Trump has been accused by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of “spoiling for a fight”, as the president lashed out at “Democrat Governors”.
Several states, including New York, have begun cautious talks on reopening, but President Trump has claimed “total” power to lift virus lockdowns.
On April 14, Andrew Cuomo refuted the claim as President Trump took to Twitter to criticize the governor.
The US is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic with 554,684 cases and 23,608 deaths.
New York has the most cases, but has seen signs of improvement, leading Governor Cuomo and regional governors to discuss plans for eventual relaxation of restrictions.
Governor Cuomo criticized President Trump at his daily press briefing, telling reporters that this was the governors’ prerogative, not the president’s. Andrew Cuomo would “not engage” in a fight with President Trump, he claimed, but added he would have “no choice” if the president the threatened the welfare of New Yorkers.
President Trump drew rebuke after claiming on April 13 that he had the ultimate authority to lift lockdown orders, contradicting governors and legal experts.
On April 14, the president took the row to Twitter criticizing Andrew Cuomo and issuing an oblique snipe at other governors.
President Trump tweeted: “Tell the Democrat Governors that ‘Mutiny On The Bounty’ was one of my all time favorite movies.
“A good old fashioned mutiny every now and then is an exciting and invigorating thing to watch, especially when the mutineers need so much from the Captain.”
The movie tells the story of a ship’s revolt in which mutineers meet with unhappy ends, with President Trump appearing to compare himself to the captain.
He aimed particular fire at Andrew Cuomo, who he said was calling “daily, even hourly, begging for everything,” like hospitals, beds, ventilators for his state. New York remains the US state hardest-hit by the coronavirus outbreak, reporting 778 deaths in the past 24 hours.
Andrew Cuomo told CNN on April 14: “I put my hand out in total partnership and cooperation with the president.”
The comments follow President Trump’s assertion on April 13 that “the president of the United States calls the shots,” during a combative press conference in which he feuded with reporters.
However, the US Constitution says the states maintain public order and safety.
The Trump administration has signaled May 1st as a potential date for easing the restrictions.
The current White House recommendations for Americans to avoid restaurants and non-essential travel and keep in-person gatherings to no more than 10 people expire on April 30.
Andrew Cuomo described President Trump’s position as a “shift” for the president, who had left the shuttering of states to governors.